“Jesse Jackson called on the Obama administration Monday to scrutinize the tech industry’s lack of diversity,” Wendy Koch reports for USA Today. “‘The government has a role to play’ in ensuring that women and minorities are fairly represented in the tech workforce, Jackson told a USA TODAY editorial board meeting. He said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission needs to examine Silicon Valley’s employment contracts.”

“‘There’s no talent shortage. There’s an opportunity shortage,’ he said, calling Silicon Valley’s record ‘far worse’ than many others such as car makers that have been pressured by unions,” Koch reports. “Jackson has lobbied nearly two dozen tech companies to disclose hiring data, and about a dozen have done so. The result is sobering: Men make up 62% to 70% of the staffs of Twitter, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn while whites and Asians comprise 88% to 91%, according to company data released in the last two months.”

“‘This is the next step in the civil rights movement,’ Jackson said, noting minorities represent a sizable share of consumers but not workers,” Koch reports. “He said it’s bad business not to include them. Of Twitter’s U.S. employees, only 3% are Hispanic and 5% black, but those groups along with Asian Americans account for 41% of its U.S. users. Pandora and eBay will soon release their hiring data, and Apple has said it will also do so but didn’t specify when, according to Butch Wing, a national political coordinator at the Rainbow Push Coalition, an advocacy group founded by Jackson.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s the logic for the demographic breakdown of electronics consumers to be echoed in the electronics company’s employment demographics? We fail to see the correlation.

Let’s change the scenario to test the soundness of Jackson’s “logic” with the following: Roughly 60% of the NBA ticket buyers are caucasian. Using Jackson’s logic, he should demand that of the five players each NBA team puts on the court, three of them should be white guys. However, the NBA instead seems to be saying that the teams should simply put the best players they possibly can in the game. After all, that’s what results in the best possible product for consumers.

So, Jackson’s “logic” is illogical. There’s no sound basis for the demographic breakdown of electronics consumers to be echoed in the electronics company’s employment demographics.

As we wrote back in January:

Diversity is good, but getting the absolute best would seem to be the better goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some [employees], consciously or unconsciously, consider certain [employees], or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota?

This could also work in Apple’s and other company’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool could result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized [workforce] would be capable of delivering.

Regardless and of course, someday it would be nice for everyone to just be able to look at a group and only see people, not skin color and/or gender.

Related articles:
Tim Cook: Apple will release diversity data ‘at some point’ – July 9, 2014
Jesse Jackson targets tech’s lack of diversity; sends letter to Apple, Google, HP, others – March 19, 2014
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. blames Apple iPad for killing thousands of American jobs – April 16, 2011